Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

A cozy, genteel room to discuss books, authors, and things literary.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Bro
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:10 pm

Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by Bro » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:03 am

No, it's not a book about Kim Jong II.

The fourth volume in Robert Caro's epic series, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, will be available in May 2012.

Unfortunately, this volume only covers the years 1958-1964. So followers of Caro's LBJ biography will have to wait for the fifth and final volume. That said, based on the quality of the previous three volumes, I will be first in line at my local book store...

http://content.usatoday.com/communities ... lbj-book/1


Bro

Dennis Spath
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Tyler, Texas

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:14 pm

I read it a few weeks ago, and found the biographical info chapter on Jack Kennedy most interesting. It is not general knowledge how close to death he came several times in the 1950's, until properly diagnosed with Addison's Disease and eventual success of experimental drugs in allowing him to lead a more normal life....although still suffering from painful episodes of chronic back pain.

I found myself skimming over Caro's preoccupation with overkill in fleshing out research details regarding particulars of LBJ's political maneuverings in the Senate among his colleagues, and the back and forth with political friends and backers regarding his oft-delayed "Run" for the Democratic Nomination. His lack of respect for Bobby Kennedy comes across quite well, as is their subsequent personal animus for each other both before and especially after the 1960 election. The importance of Kennedy having LBJ on the ticket is well documented in the account of their very narrow victory over Nixon.

For those who read this book there will be very few criticisms of Caro for his "lack of detail" in describing events while LBJ was serving as the much abused (by the Kennedy Staff) Vice President, the Kennedy Assassination, and the artful manner in which he moved Legislation in the House and Senate while President. Personally I found this volume less interesting reading than the previous three volumes, perhaps because I've read so many other books which covered the Kennedy Presidency and LBJ's role during and after....particularly the transition following the assassination.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

John F
Posts: 19850
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by John F » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:18 pm

Back in 1963 when I was at WBAI-FM in New York, we broadcast an informative and quite amusing talk by a U of Texas prof titled "The Contradictions of Texas Politics." I may still have it on a tape somewhere around here. One surprising conclusion is that in 1960, Johnson was vital to carrying the South, but his standing in his home state was such that it was Kennedy who carried Texas. That would have been a contradiction for sure! Anything like this in Caro's book?
John Francis

Dennis Spath
Posts: 668
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 pm
Location: Tyler, Texas

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by Dennis Spath » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:44 pm

John F wrote:Back in 1963 when I was at WBAI-FM in New York, we broadcast an informative and quite amusing talk by a U of Texas prof titled "The Contradictions of Texas Politics." I may still have it on a tape somewhere around here. One surprising conclusion is that in 1960, Johnson was vital to carrying the South, but his standing in his home state was such that it was Kennedy who carried Texas. That would have been a contradiction for sure! Anything like this in Caro's book?
According to Caro LBJ was depicted as having Texas in his back pocket until openly advocating for Civil Rights legislation.
It's good to be back among friends from the past.

lennygoran
Posts: 13954
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:05 am

Dennis Spath wrote:
For those who read this book there will be very few criticisms of Caro for his "lack of detail" in describing events while LBJ was serving as the much abused (by the Kennedy Staff)
I heard a long interview on PBS with Caro--very interesting. On abuse this brought to mind a documentary on Hubert Humphrey--LBJ apparently heaped tremendous abuse on Humphrey and may have cost him the Presidency--if Humphrey had had another week he might have actually won over Nixon! Regards, Len

John F
Posts: 19850
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by John F » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:28 am

LBJ cost Humphrey the Presidency by involving the U.S. in its most unpopular war ever. The many protests against the war included, for Democrats, sitting out the 1968 election; Humphrey was tarred with that brush despite a lifelong record of progressivism and achievement - so we got Richard Nixon instead. I remember arguing with many Dems about this, asking if they really wanted Nixon instead of Humphrey as President, but passions were high.
John Francis

lennygoran
Posts: 13954
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:54 am

John F wrote:LBJ cost Humphrey the Presidency by involving the U.S. in its most unpopular war ever.
Yes and when Humphrey tried to show LBJ why the war wasn't working including at cabinet meetings boy did he get put in the doghouse! Nixon meantime said he had a plan--yeah sure--it's like Romney saying he has a plan to fix the economy! Regards, Len :(

Mookalafalas
Posts: 222
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:44 am
Location: Taiwan

Re: Robert Caro: The Passage of Power

Post by Mookalafalas » Wed May 22, 2013 2:34 am

For people wondering about this series, I can't recommend it enough. It gives a terrific overview of US politics through most of the 20th century, and the most eye-opening look I've ever had, just bristling with cases of special interest (oil and power) controlling government policy, buying of elections, etc, with names and quotes and evidence--including interviews with the perpetrators many decades later.
Caro spends 10 years polishing his prose on each volume. The writing is solid--but not really remarkable. Certainly not 10 years remarkable. The content is spectacular, though. I hope he finishes the series before he passes away...he's getting to be a very old man.
Call me Al (cuz its my name)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests